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World diplomats hope for progress during Syria talks in Vienna

Foreign ministers from around world have met in the Austrian capital to discuss a peaceful solution to the Syria conflict. While diplomats hope for progress, there have been reports of more civilian deaths.

Speaking in Vienna on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he is "hopeful that we can find a way forward" in the Syria talks.

"I'm hopeful. I don't call it optimism," Kerry said, adding that the process was "very difficult."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also arrived, saying that talks could succeed "if we all come with a willingness to negotiate and to really contribute something to defuse the Syrian conflict."

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Syria talks - Kerry Skyring in Vienna

'Sign of hope'

The meeting in the Austrian capital also marked the first time archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia were meeting to discuss the crisis. Steinmeier went on to describe the feat as a sign of hope for Syria and for the region."

A solution of the Syria conflict without Iran, which supports the Shiite armed militia Hezbollah currently fighting for President Bashar al-Assad, is considered virtually impossible.

Europe hit hard by influx of refugees

As talks got underway on Friday at least 40 people were killed and around 100 injured after Syrian government forces fired missiles into a market place in a town near the Syrian capital, Damascus.

At least 250,000 people have died in Syria as a result of around two and a half years of bloody conflict between Assads' regime and insurgent groups.

Around 4.2 million Syrians have now fled the country, which has had a significant effect on Syria's immediate neighbors, like Turkey, and EU countries which a struggling to cope under the huge influx of refugees.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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